Cart 0

Tired of Swimming Long Distances with Fins? Try These Challenging Swim Workouts...

Stew smith

Tired of Swimming Long Distances with Fins? Try These Challenging Swim Workouts...

Getting your lungs and legs in shape to handle a fast 2 mile ocean swim (and longer) takes time and it is absolutely required IF you want to get THROUGH the training. To get TO the training all you have to do is pass a 500yd swim without fins.  To get THROUGH the training a 2 mile ocean swim with big SCUBA fins (Rocket Fins or Jet Fins) will crush your ankles, leg muscles, and hips if you are not preparing yourself for these WEEKLY events. The information below are more entertaining ways to mix in 2000-4000yds of swimming with fins into your training - THOUGH you will need to be able to just grind out 60-75 minutes of non-stop swimming with fins eventually.

Related Training Challenge - Similarly, to get TO the training you only have to pass a 1.5 mile timed run, but at BUDS  you will have weekly 4 mile timed runs in boots, pants, and on the beach.  See program to help you with that specific event OR any of the SEAL programs will have both runs and swims arranged logically to help you get TO and THROUGH the training. 

Warmup the Mind and Body (first 500m)

Warmup with 500m without fins - This is important.  Every time you hit the pool to start a workout, you should be warming up with the test you have to take to get TO the training (typically a 500m or 500yd test).  This is important for your physical and mental conditioning because if you are get in the type of shape that 500m is "just a warmup" any future fitness test with a swim included will have that warmup component for you.  This is a big anxiety relief as you improve your swimming abilities. Once you have that nailed - consider treading with no hands for 10 minutes as a warmup or definitely a cool down event before you leave the pool. 

Swim with Fin 500m Sets

The following sets are in 500m blocks are ways to break up the monotony, work on conditioning for the lungs and legs, and the goal is to be able to do these as part of a 2000m swim workout:

CSS / Free with Turtlebacking or LATA
500m CSS or Free with fins mixed with turtlebacking:

Repeat 10 times
Swim 25m fast doing CSS or freestyle
Swim 25m turtlebacking (on back just flutterkicking) or LATA
*(no rest)

Over / Unders with fins
500m underwater or zero breath freestyle followed by easy 25 recovery

Repeat 10 times
Swim 25m underwater (dolphin / flutterkicks) or zero breath freestyle.
Swim 25m easy - any stroke to catch breath (CSS, LATA, turtlebacking)
(rest as needed before next 25m under - minimal if possible)

75m Fast / 25m easy x 5 with fins

Repeat 5 times

Swim 75m fast free or CSS
Swim 25m turtleback or LATA

"COOLDOWN" Progression

After the above workout you will have accumulated 2000m of fin swimming - that  is a good start. Now build up your "cooldown" from 500m, 1000m, to 2000m over time. The ultimate goal is to accumulate 4000m (yds) with fins. The goal pace for these sets and total distances is still a yard or meter per second.

So 4000yds in 4000 seconds = 66-67 minutes.  The good news is you have 80 minutes before you fail in first phase, but you have to get it to 70 minutes by third phase. So get swimming - fast and straight. 

Two mile ocean swims are measured in nautical miles which equal 2000 yds - so get used to 4000yds of swimming - your ankles will thank you for it if you can get the pain out of the way long before BUDS. 

*LATA - Lead Arm Trail Arm is swimming with kicking only on your side with fins.  This is a Air Force Special Warfare swim stroke. 

Who Is The Coach, Trainer, Author Stew Smith?

 I'm the former Navy SEAL that special ops candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

What Programs Are Right For YOU?

It depends on your scores compared to other successful students.  See the Assessment Tool to Make it To and Through Selection and se where you stack up with all the elements of fitness - not just a PST score. 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 


More Options:   

Special Ops – Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program. So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training.


Seasonal Tactical Fitness Programs 

Especially These That Are Used For Local Spec Ops Candidates Last Year


 OR Do You Want my REAL TIME Seasonal Periodization Training - Delivered Weekly?

Get Weekly Unpublished Workouts Tested and Evaluated by local
Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership – You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

Join the Online PT CLUB:
One On One Coaching with Stew Smith

If You Need a More Personalized Approach to Fit Your Needs, Goals, Time per Day, Days per week, Facilities, Abilities, etc...Try Online Coaching

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published